PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Charlotte Stone Crabs thrilled the hometown fans with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Jupiter Hammerheads at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday night.
Jeremy Hall (11-4) earned his league-leading eleventh win of the season for Charlotte (11-9) with a strong six-inning effort in which he gave up just two runs on five hits. He settled down after the first three innings and finished strong after retiring 10 batters in a row to end his outing.
Matt Gorgen picked up his fifteenth save of the season for the Stone Crabs, and then got even better news when he found out he had been promoted to Double-A Montgomery after the game.
"Tonight's save was a tough one, but it was an exciting situation with the crowd really into it," Gorgen said. "I was so lucky to start the season out here in Charlotte, and now I just want to build on the strong start that I've had here and hopefully continue to do well in Montgomery."
Gorgen converted 15 of 16 saves on the season and posted a microscopic 0.57 ERA to earn the promotion.
Reid Fronk continued his turnaround at the plate with a 2-for-4 night that included an RBI-double for Charlotte. Fronk struggled through a 0-for-27 stint before reeling off seven hits in his last 14 at bats to go along with a three-game RBI streak.
Tampa Bay Rays reliever Brian Shouse also chipped in a scoreless inning of relief as part of a rehab assignment with Charlotte.
Jupiter jumped out to an early lead with runs in the top of the second and third innings. Louis Ott plated the second run in spectacular fashion when he belted a towering solo home run over the right field wall for his first longball of the season.
In contrast to Ott, Charlotte scored its first run in the bottom of the sixth inning with some textbook "small ball." Ian Paxton led off the inning with a double down the left field line, then Matt Hall and Shawn O'Malley beat out infield singles on perfectly executed bunts with Paxton scoring from third base on the bunt from O'Malley.
The Stone Crabs then took the lead in the next frame with a pair of runs off Jupiter starter Alex Sanabia. Reid Fronk led off with a double followed by a bunt from Shawn Williams that Hammerheads catcher Jameson Smith airmailed to second base in an attempt to catch Fronk as he scrambled back to the bag. John Matulia then strode to the dish and lined a frozen rope double off the right field wall to score Fronk from third. Hall completed the scoring and gave the Stone Crabs the lead when he poked a single up the middle to plate Williams.
Gorgen's two-inning save did not come easy, including a 22-pitch ninth inning, but he struck out the final two batters to slam the door shut on Jupiter and preserve the win for Hall.
The Stone Crabs will wrap up their current homestand with tomorrow's series finale against the Hammerheads. Right-hander Alex Cobb (4-4, 3.20) will start for Charlotte against righty Brett Harker (3-1, 2.33) for Jupiter.
Tomorrow's game will mark the second Faith Night pre-game concert of the season with recording artist and former All-Star pitcher Kent Bottenfield performing on the concourse when gates open at 6:00 p.m.